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How the NFL Responded to the Colin Kaepernick Protests in 2016-2017 and How the League Responded to Athlete Protests During the Black Lives Matter Movement of 2020: A Sport Study, Social Phenomenological Approach

November 24th, 2020|Research, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|

Authors: Ben Donahue, MS, MEd

Corresponding Author:
Ben Donahue, MS, MEd
3304 Sierra Meadows Dr.
Bakersfield, Ca. 93313
(425) 359-3248

Ben Donahue has worked for over 25 years in sports at the k-12, college, and professional levels.  His experience includes athletic director, game day operations and guest relations, football operations, coach, and baseball scout.  Currently, he is a public-school teacher and contributing writer for and

How the NFL Responded to the Colin Kaepernick Protests in 2016-2017 and How the League Responded to Athlete Protests During the Black Lives Matter Movement of 2020: A Sport Study, Social Phenomenological Approach


This study examined the use of social phenomenological research by examining key figures in the National Football League (NFL) after the Colin Kaepernick and George Floyd, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests.  The author researched several responses from NFL personnel and the NFL commissioner after both events.  These responses were divided into statements made in 2016-2017 (Kaepernick protests) and statements made in 2020 (Floyd/BLM protests).  Using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), the author coded the statements into specific themes, and then analyzed and interpreted the themes as relating to phenomenological awareness.  This approach used phenomenological analysis to better understand the latent or ‘disguised’ reason for an experience to come to light. 

The results of the study show that, while the primary impetus of both protests were the same, the responses from NFL personnel were vastly different for each protest.  Key to these responses were the influences of external interests that put pressure on the NFL to respond in a specific way.  These external interests included government figures, NFL fans, and the public at large.  The conclusions of this study suggest that in the future, the NFL should take greater care to look for the underlying causes of their employees’ concerns before assuming that they implicitly understand those concerns.  The applications of the study can be used as a teaching tool for other sports organizations, including coaches and sport administrators, as they work to respond to matters of great concern and importance to their employees.  


Nutrition status of female division I college gymnasts: a descriptive study

November 20th, 2020|Sports Health & Fitness|

Authors: Hilary Green1, Ruth Litchfield1, and Ulrike Genschel2

1Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
2Department of Statistics, Iowa State University, Ames Iowa

Corresponding Author:
Hilary L. Green, MS, RDN
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
2312 Food Sciences Building
536 Farm House Lane
Ames, IA 50011-1061

Hilary L. Green, MS, RDN is a BS/MS graduate of Iowa State University in Diet and Exercise who performed research under the guidance of Dr. Ruth Litchfield. Her research interests focused on nutrition, inflammation, and the recovery status of division I collegiate female gymnasts.

Ruth Litchfield, PhD, RD, LD is currently a faculty member and Nutrition Extension State Specialist at Iowa State University. Her research interests include nutrition education, health promotion, sports nutrition, educational technology, and school nutrition.

Ulrike Genschel, PhD is an associate professor of statistics. Her research interests are in the areas of statistics education, education research methodology, general statistical methodology, and robust statistics.

Nutrition status of female division I college gymnasts: a descriptive study


Research has shown the female athlete triad to be prevalent among aesthetic sports like gymnastics, where decreased energy intake can increase the risk of one or more components of the triad. The importance of nutrition in recovery for elite athletes, including collegiate gymnasts, has also been noted. The purpose of this paper is to examine anthropometric measures and dietary intake during the pre-season and competitive season among division I collegiate female gymnasts. Variable measures were collected in August, December, and April and analyzed using descriptive statistics via SPSS (v25) and SAS (v9.4). Results suggest a decrease in body fat from August to December. Energy, carbohydrate, dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamins (folate, K, D) and choline intakes did not meet current recommendations and diet quality was fair. This study demonstrated suboptimal dietary intake, indicating the need for nutrition interventions to improve nutrient intake and diet quality in collegiate female gymnasts.


Recreational sport opportunities for youth with disabilities: Perspectives of recreation directors in New England

November 17th, 2020|Research, Sports Coaching|

Authors: James MacGregor1, Deb Risisky2, Kevin McGinniss1

1 Department of Recreation, Tourism and Sport Management, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
2 Department of Public Health, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Corresponding Author:
James MacGregor, EdD
Department of Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Management
Southern Connecticut State University
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06514
Office: 203.392.6385

James MacGregor, EdD, is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Management. His research areas include inclusion and recreation, disability studies, and sport leadership development.

Deb Risisky, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Public Health. Her research is in evaluation of adolescent health programs, youth violence, and educational success of youth.

Kevin McGinniss, EdD, is an Assistant Professor and Director of Sport Management in the Department of Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Management. His research is in intercollegiate athletics and disability sports.

Recreational Sport Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities


Purpose: Inclusive recreation practices are one of the most recognized means of providing recreational sport opportunities for youth with disabilities. Municipal recreation departments are responsible for ensuring opportunities to partake in youth sport programs. This study evaluates the extent to which recreation departments are providing inclusive recreational sport opportunities to individuals with disabilities.

Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional design mail survey to gather data from recreation directors across New England. The two dependent variables for this study are provision of inclusive services and perceived challenges to providing those services. The independent variables include director recreation/sport education, years as a director, and community size. Analysis included univariate, bivariate, and ANOVA for the quantitative data. Qualitative data were reviewed for commonalities.

Results: There were 136 respondents for a response rate of 34.8%. Most (85%) directors noted their agency provided some inclusive recreation. Areas of success included accessible facilities and accommodations/modifications. Areas of needed improvement included staff training and providing transportation for individuals with disabilities. The only significant factor was years as a Director (F=4.315; p=0.016). The multiple comparison test found statistical significance between those with the fewest years of experience (x̄=22.14) and highest experience (x̄=19.57). The top challenges in providing inclusive recreational sport was additional expense, and the lack of training for the provision of these services.

Conclusions: Without director support, inclusive recreation can be difficult to achieve. Director support, including making inclusion an agency priority, reflecting inclusion in the agency’s mission, and hiring practices was imperative to facilitating an inclusive recreation environment and program. Financial concerns and need for staff training are the biggest obstacles to providing inclusive recreational sport programming.

Applications in Sport: Training of recreation and youth sport staff members, including those that aspire to be directors, can have a great impact on opening opportunities for inclusive recreational sports. University academic recreation and sport management programs need to embed the principles and practices of inclusion into their curriculum. In-service training can be an important tool to increase inclusion offerings to the community, increasing the amount of staff members who can facilitate increased opportunities for inclusive recreational sport.


NCAA Head Coach Satisfaction with Athletic Trainers: Influence of Individual Athletic Trainer Characteristics and Team Factors

November 13th, 2020|Sports Coaching|

Authors: Whitney Larson, M.S., ATC, Alyson Dearie, Ed.D., ATC, Larissa True, Ph.D., Brian Richardson, Ph.D., and Erik Lind, Ph.D.

Corresponding Author:
Erik Lind, Ph.D.
1151 Professional Studies Building
Kinesiology Department
State University of New York at Cortland
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 753-2189

Whitney Larson is an assistant athletic trainer with the Iona College Athletic Department in New Rochelle, NY, and provides coverage for a number of the school’s athletic teams.

Dr. Alyson Dearie is the Clinical Education Coordinator with the Athletic Training program at SUNY-Cortland.

Drs. Larissa True (Exercise Science), Brian Richardson (Coaching), and Erik Lind (Sports Studies) are all with the Kinesiology Department at SUNY-Cortland.

NCAA Head Coach Satisfaction with Athletic Trainers: Influence of Individual Athletic Trainer Characteristics and Team Factors


Considerable research exists which examines the relationship between head coach-athlete and athletic trainer-athlete. However, little is known about the perceived relationship between head coach-athletic trainer, specifically satisfaction with services provided. Purpose: This study examined head coach satisfaction with athletic trainers across National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) divisions. Methods: Head coaches from a Division I, II, and III athletic department were surveyed regarding overall and dimensions of satisfaction of athletic training services. Results: No differences in Overall Satisfaction with athletic training services were noted. However, coaches assigned (a) a full-time athletic trainer reported significantly higher satisfaction in athletic trainer Knowledge/Ability than coaches with a graduate assistant and (b) a certified athletic trainer reported higher Communication scores. Moreover, Overall Satisfaction and Professionalism were different between male/female sport teams. Conclusions: Regardless of competitive level, NCAA head coaches appeared satisfied with services provided by the athletic training staff. Certain dimensions of satisfaction, however, were influenced by individual characteristics of the athletic trainer (i.e. full-time appointment; assigned certified athletic trainer). Likewise, team factors (i.e. sex of the team) also influenced satisfaction ratings with athletic training services. Applications in Sport: The findings may contribute to continued improvement of the NCAA head coach-athletic trainer relationship. Given the demands and responsibilities of each role, it is imperative to establish a trusting and positive relationship. Clearly delineating the needs and expectations both the head coach and athletic trainer are to address will only create a more productive work environment. Awareness of these findings will help inform the head coach-athletic trainer relationship by highlighting factors (e.g., access to full-time and certified athletic trainers) which can quickly facilitate the relationship. Conversely, the findings also identify potential issues (e.g., sex of the team) to address early to prevent a break down in the relationship.


Controlled but Autonomous: An examination of autonomy deficit in the pursuit of practice in sport

November 10th, 2020|General, Research|

Authors: Joar Svensson1 and Scott Barnicle2

1Department of Sport Science, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden
2College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

Corresponding Author:
Scott Barnicle, PhD, CMPC
WVU – College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences
375 Birch Street
Morgantown, WV, 26505

Joar Svensson is a graduate student in sport and exercise psychology at Halmstad University in Halmstad, Sweden. His primary research interest is in self-determination theory and is continuing to expand his research interests as part of his graduate work.

Scott Barnicle, PhD, CMPC, is the program coordinator and teaching assistant professor in the Sport and Exercise Psychology program at West Virginia University. His research interests are in the areas of sport enjoyment, applied mental skills training, and teaching methods in the field of sport and exercise psychology.

Controlled but Autonomous: An examination of autonomy deficit in the pursuit of practice in sport


Self-determination theory posits three basic psychological needs, competence, relatedness, and autonomy (6). Autonomy is defined as being the perceived origin or source of one’s own behavior (2). The limits of this perception have not yet been tested. The current study set out to investigate whether athletes could be controlled while still feeling autonomous. A questionnaire about level of control and perception of autonomy was created. Participants were recruited (N=39) and answered the questionnaire. Results indicated that level of control over the sport and autonomy was significantly negatively correlated whereas control over practice and autonomy had no significant correlation. Athletes in controlling sports could therefore need extra autonomy support to satisfy their needs. As no significant correlations were found between control over practice and autonomy, practice sessions could possibly be very controlling without any major ramifications. The factors influencing this relationship need further investigation in differing sports and populations.